NYT reported Security officials here in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, a restive republic on Russia's mountainous southern border, have a secret list of people who are kept under scrutiny. Those on it have committed no crimes, but are considered suspect because they are Muslims who practice Islam outside of the state's sanctioned mosques.
Russia may be going a bit far by having state sanctioning of mosques, but I support their need to keep an eye on mosques to make sure they are not places to spread terrorism.Ovod Golayev is on that list. He lives in Karachayevsk, a city nestled in the foothills of the Caucasus, where he works for a tourism company that organizes skiing and hiking excursions. He wears his hair and beard long. He prays five times a day. He fasts during Ramadan, which is unusual here. In recent weeks, he said, the police have detained him four times, twice in one day.
Mr. Golayev, 36, said the Islam he observes is opposed to violence, but he warned that the mistreatment of believers was driving men like him to desperation. "They will pressure me enough," he said, "and then I will blow somebody's head off."
That does not exactly sound like someone opposed to violence.Here in the northern Caucasus, and across all of Russia, Islamic faith is on the rise. So is Islamic militancy, and fear of such militancy, leading to tensions like those felt in Europe, where a flow of immigrants from the Muslim world is straining relations with liberal, secular societies.
Russia is probably holding the reins too tight, but they should certainly keep an eye on radical Islam.